Two Poems

Rae Armantrout

Pretty Little

I’m not lonely
because I have secrets;

I’m lonely because words
can’t bring the past
into the present

(which amounts to the same thing).

        *

Jack Rabbit
and the Lonely Present

is the title of a book
I almost wrote

        *

I’m lonely because
you’re sure you’ve heard
something like this
everywhere before.

        *

Polly Pea Pod
And the Deep Hole

        *

You think you can make
something out of it

the way you made much
of the slanted light
and deep shadows
of autumn.



Parallax

The first value is focus.
Then balance.

Backward and forward
offset.

Tat for tat –
just so, as if.

These phantom limbs
go parallax.

‘Make something of your life.’
Something inanimate.